Land for the Living

“A life-changing aspect to having burial plans already in place is that loved ones can take the time to mourn, instead of shopping.”

Stonewall Memory Gardens is a place for reflection and planning ahead

When Shirley Pearson Fahringer, manager of family services, walks the grounds of Stonewall Memory Gardens, she sees names of people from all throughout her life, teachers, family, friends, even the doctor who delivered her children. But instead of sorrow, she recalls times spent together and feels peaceful. Admittedly, hers is an uncommon perspective, a result of having worked in this field for almost a decade. 

A planner and organizer at heart, Fahringer has her burial plans in place, and her eternal resting place picked out and paid for. So does her husband and anyone else she has encouraged. While this may sound morbid to some, Fahringer says this process is one of the most compassionate acts a person can do for their loved ones. 

The saddest thing Fahringer sees is when people come in grief-stricken, and have to make some of the most difficult decisions of their lives. They’re unsure what to do and fear making the wrong decision; something they’ll worry about for the rest of their lives.  

Fahringer points out that “the average person does quite a bit of planning for life’s possibilities. They purchase life insurance, start a college fund, buy health insurance. And yet death, something that will happen to each one of us, is not thought of in the same vein.”  

Step one is that conversation no one wants to have. Fahringer says “it’s not uncommon for spouses to have no idea of what their partner’s vision is for burial. And children may not know what their parents’ true wishes are.” Handling the burial of someone whose wishes haven’t been communicated often results in the responsible party overspending to compensate for not feeling confident they’re doing the right thing. 

But a life-changing aspect to having plans already in place is that loved ones can take the time to mourn, instead of shopping. They’re not tasked with agonizing choices. There are also financial advantages. A plan made in advance can be paid in phases, but without plans, 100% of the total is due before burial.

Stonewall Memory Gardens is part of the Dignity Memorial provider network. There are quite a few benefits of choosing a provider in such a network; one of them is transferability. These advantages could be especially important in areas like ours where families relocate often. Any prearranged services are honored at all other Dignity Memorial providers in North America. 

While a growing number of people are choosing cremation, others still prefer traditional burial plots. At Stonewall, mausoleums, cremation niches, and family estates and individual plots are available in its beautiful setting among the Manassas Battlefields. 

While society wants to portray cemeteries as a place of fear, “they are truly a land for the living,” says Fahringer. Stonewall Memory Gardens is a place of peace and for remembrance, and those who work there take pride in maintaining its beauty. To help make this a place of comfort to families, including children, Stonewall Memory Gardens hosts events, like a butterfly release, cookouts, an Easter sunrise service. “Mother’s Day is by far the most visited day of the year,” explains Fahringer, so “we host a cookout that day to greet guests and give support to those mourning.” 

Fahringer encourages visitors to come by from sunrise to sunset to explore Stonewall Memory Gardens. And when the time arrives, she will be ready to meet with those convinced that pre-planning their services will be a gift to their loved ones. “Start that conversation now,” she says. “You’ll be glad you did.” 

Christine Craddock
About Christine Craddock 117 Articles
Christine Craddock is a writer, editor, photographer, wife, and mother of two adorable children. She is a faithful contributing writer for Haymarket Lifestyle magazine and has resided in Haymarket since 2006.

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